Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Editorials

September 27, 2013

Big star for Star

Carter County elementary named Blue Ribbon school

ASHLAND — For more than 40 years, countless motorists have sped by Star Elementary on U.S. 60 in eastern Carter County without realizing something special and unusual was taking place inside the rather non-descript school building.  

Well, now they know. Star Elementary is one of only five public schools in Kentucky— and the only one in northeastern Kentucky — to be named a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School based on its overall academic excellence and its progress in improving student academic achievement.

What a tribute to the small rural school near Carter County’s line with Boyd County and what a feather in the cap for the Carter County School District, which has had its share of academic problems over the years. 

Star Elementary Principal Charles Baker compared his reaction to the award to winning a 16th Region basketball championship, which he did in 1986 as the boys’ coach at East Carter High School. But it’s better than that.

“Being a part of a team that has been recognized nationally is something I’ve never been associated with,” Baker said. “It’s not something that happens overnight. It took a lot of work from the kids, staff and community.”

The Blue Ribbon award is just the latest recognition for what has been a steady record of improvements for Star. The elementary school has been named a Kentucky School of Distinction for the past two years as a result of its improving test scores. However, only 286 public and private elementary, middle and high schools in the country  were selected as a Blue Ribbon School. That puts Star in rather exclusive company.

“Excellence in education matters and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan, who made the announcement of the Blue Ribbon Schools via video on the Internet. “National Blue Ribbon schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education.”

Star is the first school in Carter County, only the second school in northeast Kentucky, and one of only 40 schools in Kentucky since 1982 to receive the prestigious award. The now-closed Hatcher Elementary School in Ashland received the recognition about 10 years ago.

Baker said the credit for the achievement goes to a staff that simply has a passion for what they do. “We have a staff that loves to come to work,” he said. “That’s why I’m still at it and the staff feels the  same way.”

As a coach, Baker said he knew a team was going to be good when they loved to practice. The same goes for the teaching profession.“When you love coming to work, good things are going to happen,” he said.

Second-grade teacher Lisa Hicks said the Star staff is like family and they are a group with a common goal of making sure each child achieves to his or her ability.

“I think also the kids know what’s expected of them,” she said. “We believe in them. The fact they know how much we believe in them gives them the confidence they need to be successful.”

Star only has 137 students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade, which makes it smaller than the Kentucky Department of Education prefers for elementary schools, but the small size and rural setting where everyone knows everyone obviously works at Star.

Baker, who has been the star principal since 1997, could have retired from education years ago. But he says coming to work at Star doesn’t seem like work at all.

Star keeps on achieving, despite budget cutbacks. Hicks said the school finds a way despite the obstacles.

“It’s like we’re the best-kept secret in Kentucky,” Hicks said. “It feels nice to be recognized.”

Monica Cline, who has been a first-grade teacher at Star for 11 years, agreed. “We treat the kids as if they were our own children,” she said. “We’re hard on them but we love them the same. I hope everybody realizes even though we’re a small school, we’re doing big things.”

The word is out. Because of the Blue Ribbon now on display at the school, people now know that good things are happening at Star Elementary. We congratulate the school, its teachers and staff and the students for earning this achievement. The small rural school has received the kinds of positive national recognition that  few schools ever receive.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • By a thread

    It took some last-minute political maneuvering by State Rep. Tanya Pullin, D-South Shore and some skilled wheeling and dealing to prevent a bill important to AK Steel in Ashland from ending up on the scrapheap of the 2014 Kentucky General Assembly.

    April 23, 2014

  • Along the river

    Here’s hoping the weather will be as close to perfect as possible on the evening of May 30, as members of the Paul G. Blazer High School class of 2014 gather on the banks of Ohio River for the school’s first graduation on the river that has helped fuel this community’s economy since the time when it was known as known as Poage’s Landing.

    April 22, 2014

  • Good opportunity

    Morehead State University is using a highly successful program for outstanding high school juniors and seniors at Western Kentucky University to launch a similar program beginning in the fall of 2015 on the MSU campus.

    April 20, 2014

  • What's next?

    While virtually all cities in northeastern Kentucky provide their residents with some utility services — water and sewer, mainly, and sometimes natural gas — to the best of our knowledge, Olive Hill is the only town in the FIVCO‚Äąregion with its own electrical company.
     

    April 13, 2014

  • 'Waited too long'

    Lt. Garlin Murl Conner left the U.S. Army as the second-most decorated soldier during World War II, earning four Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during 28 straight months in combat.

    April 12, 2014

  • Enact HB 3

    The National Rx Drug Abuse Summit is under way hundreds of miles from eastern Kentucky in Orlando, Fla., but the three-day conference which runs through Thursday, was organized by Operation UNITE, the eastern Kentucky anti-drug group that knows all too well the devastating impact the prescription drug epidemic continues to have on this region.

    April 11, 2014

  • State officials cease efforts to stop advance of ash borer

    Kentucky’s war against the tiny emerald ash borer responsible for already killing more than 25 million ash trees in the eastern United States has ended in surrender — by state officials, not the tiny insect.

    April 8, 2014

  • Demise of apparel industry in Kentucky continues

    The steady demise of the once thriving clothing industry in small Kentucky towns continues with the latest factory to announce it is shutting down being one of the largest: Fruit of the Loom has announced it is closing its last remaining plant in Jamestown, a move that eventually will see the elimination of more than 600 jobs in the small town near Lake Cumberland.

    April 7, 2014

  • None on ballot

    The 2014 Kentucky General Assembly considered an unusually high number of proposed amendments to the Kentucky Constitution on such issues as casino gambling, the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons and the elimination of state and local elected offices.

    April 4, 2014

  • Time runs out

    Two bills proposed by House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and designed to boost the economy of this region have apparently died in the Kentucky Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives. Despite easily being approved by the Democratic-controlled House, neither bill was even brought up for a vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    April 2, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
SEC Zone